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God is Setting All Things Right. So I am Blogging Through the Bible in a Year.

Thursday, November 14, 2013

November 14 - Matthew 28; Mark 16: Jesus is Risen from the Dead!

Today’s Reading: Matthew 28; Mark 16

The Message

English Standard Version


Congratulations! You've made it through two of the four Gospels and have 25 books to go in the New Testament. Keep going!

Thought to Guide Your Reading

The Jews' rebellion did not end God's Plan! He is risen!

Summary in 100 Words or Less

Two women, both named Mary, went to visit Jesus' tomb. Suddenly they felt an earthquake and saw an angel sitting inside the now-empty tomb. "Don't fear, Jesus has risen!" the angel said, "Go and tell the Disciples."
Jesus met them on the road and asked that they tell the Disciples to meet Him in Galilee.
The guards were bribed to lie and say the Apostles stole Jesus' Body.
Jesus came to the Apostles and told them, "I have all authority. Go, make Disciples, baptize them, and teach them what I taught you. I will be with you forever."

How Today’s Reading Contributes to the Gospel: God is Setting All Things Right

Jesus is risen!

It is today's and tomorrow's readings that provide the foundational belief of Christianity: the resurrection of the body and its reconnection to the spirit. Christianity does not hinge on a cross. It hinges on Jesus coming back to life! Jesus' Crucifixion meant we could all have our relationships set right with God. Jesus' Resurrection means we will all one day be alongside Him. Praise God! Death will not have the last say!

The Jews wanted everyone to believe Jesus' Body was stolen.

There are a few alternative theories about the Resurrection. What I want to point out here is that the Jews did not want the guards to say that Jesus stayed alive and walked out of the tomb. They wanted the guards to say His Body was stolen by the Apostles. One major theory over the last few centuries goes against that narrative and is believed even though there is no credible evidence in that direction.

Jesus wanted the Disciples to go, make more disciples, and teach them what Jesus taught—in that order.

Allow me to get a little technical—especially since this is one of my favorite texts in scripture. Notice that baptism wasn't the goal. The goal was to make disciples. The rest, baptizing them in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit and teaching them to do everything Jesus taught the Apostles, happened to disciples. A disciple who is baptized wants to know how to set all things right. A baptized person wants to continue in their religious practice and may care little for setting things right.
One of the major issues churches have today is that they go out and baptize people and then try to make them disciples. That's backwards! It is similar to Israel when they played "religious games" instead of promoting mercy and justice. I fear we do the same when we focus on baptism. Make disciples, not baptized people. Teach baptized disciples to set things right.

He is Risen!


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